Eater's Digest: Philadelphia 2

Previously on Adam Riff™:

Eater's Digest: Philadelphia
What began as an excursion down to Philly to try Drew's sandwich ballooned into an all-day food crawl.

August 2014

pizzeria beddia / the yachtsman / serpico / vernick food and drink / hop sing laundromat / american sardine bar / dizengoff / beck's cajun cafe / zahav / cheu noodle bar / blue corn / tavern on camac / wursthaus schmitz / dutch eating place / spam night @ american sardine bar / good dog bar / the baker's jar / magpie / high street on market / beiler's bakery / meltkraft / the original turkey / kanella

» philly food crawl 2

Gold Stars

Peach and Lamb Confit Salad (Vernick Food and Drink)
frisee lettuce

Lamb Hummus (Dizengoff [a hummusiya])
pistachios, peas, mint, cinnamon

Hummus – Tehina (Zahav)
sesame paste, garlic, lemon, olive oil, cumin, parsley

Chocolate Halvah Mousse (Zahav)
sesame crisp, stewed cherries, machleb

Apple Fritter (Beiler's Bakery)

Deep Fried Duck Leg (Serpico)
hoisin, scallion, pickles, martin's potato roll

Shrimp Saganaki (Kanella)
shrimp roasted with feta, tomato, orzo, and oregano, served with crustini

Pizzeria Beddia's hours are wonky, its menu is limited, it's cash only, you can only order in person, and you have to wait about 30 minutes for your order, as Mr. Beddia makes pizzas to order and only has one oven.

Philadelphians, however, seem to want his pizza bad enough that his operation can thrive like this.

I'm a poor judge of pizza – all pizza satisfies me – but JC said that Pizzeria Beddia's pizza was the best pizza that he's ever eaten in Philadelphia, and he's a native.

I regret pacing myself drink-wise and only taking a sip of Drew's Narragansett Shandy.

Angry Crab Spaghetti / Green Tea Garganelli (High Street on Market)
peeky toe crab, old bay, scallions, bay leaf / smoked duck ragu

Bon Appétit named High Street on Market the second best new restaurant in America.

Pasta seasoned with Old Bay and matcha should not taste so anemic.

Potted Shrimps (High Street on Market)
whipped foie, nutmeg, shrimp toasts

This was delectable, though.


—How do you pronounce that? Pash-unk? Puh-sigh-unk?


—Squeal-kill? I feel like the K is silent.

—The smell of Worcestershire sauce reminded Hermione and Laoghaire Krzyzewski of halcyon days charbroiling cicadas along the Schuylkill River.

Chocolate Coffee Cinnamon Pecan Pie (Magpie)

I effort to try a chocolate pecan pie in every city I visit. Alas, this one was not available when I visited. It's a seasonal flavour.

If not chocolate pecan pie, then bread pudding. My research turned up a Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding in a jar at The Baker's Jar. Alas, it too was not available. Another seasonal item.

What, people don't crave chocolate in summer time?

I settled for a

Key Lime Pie in a jar (The Baker's Jar)

which was a belting confection, if a tad difficult to eat. Next summer, I suggest layering crust and curd like a parfait.

Blue Corn is a Mexican restaurant with blue corn, or pinole, all over its menu. For example:

Blue Corn Margarita (Blue Corn)
horitos tequila, lime juice, orange juice, blue curacao, rim with pinole

Pinole Cheese Cake (Blue Corn)
blue corn graham crust with mascarpone crème and guava sauce

You can tell that Blue Corn is authentic Mexican by its use of queso blanco.

La Raza's love for queso blanco confounds me. It doesn't melt, and yet they cover nachos with it and stuff it in quesadillas.

What I saw:

What I got:

Grilled Gelato Sandwich (Meltkraft)

When Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, he was buried in his family plot in the north west corner of the burial ground along with his wife Deborah and their two children Francis and Sarah.

In 1858, Franklin's descendants requested that an opening be placed in the brick wall so the public could see Franklin's grave day or night, and a metal fence was installed. After the opening in the wall it was much easier for Franklin's many fans to show their respect. [source]

—Hear ye, motherfucker. Future generations will want to take selfies in front of my grave, so I have to be buried beside a wall.
—Okay, okay! Beside a wall!

—All I have left is this corner plot.

Club 33 is a private club located in the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. Officially maintained as a secret feature of the theme park, the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant with the entrance recognizable by an address plate with the number 33 engraved on it.

To enter Club 33, a guest must press a buzzer on an intercom concealed by a hidden panel in the doorway. A receptionist will ask for his name over the intercom and, if access is granted, open the door to a small, ornate lobby.

Club 33 has a full bar, although patrons must order directly from their server rather than the service bar. [source]

Hop Sing Laundromat is like Philadelphia's Club 33.

We were greeted behind the security door of a nondescript unmarked building in Chinatown by its owner Le, an eccentric Vietnamese fellow with a penchant for joking about smoking crack. He vetted what we were wearing and, having passed his dress code, led us into a waiting room with a floor lined with pennies, where he ran down the rules of his joint – no photographs, no phone calls. After we consented, he seated us at a table in the main room, which is equal parts old school Italian restaurant and mind of Criss Angel. The bar top is, heh, lined with nickels.

I lost my notes on the cocktails I ordered, but I think the Ivan Drago is vodka, freshly-pressed green grape and watermelon juices, and bitters; and the Box Brown is rum and freshly-pressed red grape juice.

Latka-nomiyaki (Cheu Noodle Bar)
potato pancake, bonito, kewpie

A Jewish play on okonomiyaki [freestyle Japanese savoury pancake].

The potato pancake was more hash browns than latke, but you can't go wrong with fried potatoes.

related: Lancaster Okonomiyaki, with a base of Pennsylvania scrapple cooked in a waffle iron (Ivan Ramen / Manhattan, NY)

Pho Sandwich (Serpico)
grilled beef, jalapeño, bean sprouts, thai basil

Pho sandwiches are having a moment.


Pho Baguette (East Borough / Culver City, CA)
beef brisket, basil, onions, hoisin sriracha aioli, side car pho

Brisket Pho Sandwich (Smallwares / Portland, OR)
hoisin, jalapeño, basil, five spice

I can't speak for all pho sandwiches, but the ones I've tried have been Vietnamese variations on a French dip.

Evidently, a giant rat isn't demonstrative enough for Philadelphia unions.

The diamond ring on an extended pinky is a nice touch.

SPAM Night @ American Sardine Bar

—I'll have one of everything.

No one man should have all that SPAM.

SPAM Night offerings, ranked:

6. SPAM Mac and Cheese
I couldn't discern SPAM. This just ate like mac and cheese, albeit spiced with unneutered jalapeño pepper and topped with Fritos.

5. SPAM Corn Dog
Like the mac and cheese, this just ate like a corn dog.

4. Whipped SPAM
This was fine, but I wish it came with a jelly or a jam. I like a fruity component with spreadable meat.

3. SPAM Lumpia
I would never think to fill a spring roll with fried rice. Deep-fried fried rice?

2. SPAM Slider
The MVP of SPAM Night was this sandwich's homemade pandesal bread roll. It had a stale quality that was oddly ambrosial.

1. SPAM Tacos
The dish in which SPAM appeared most unadulterated – the dish I dreaded eating most – turned out to be my favourite of the bunch. It was so unexpectedly fresh.

The blokes sitting to my left bemoaned the lack of a SPAM dessert, whereas I felt what was missing was an army stew. SPAM, hot dogs, kimchi, instant noodles, and American cheese – who says "no"?

Missed Connections

Mac 'n Hash Sammy (Mac Mart)
bacon, pam pam's bam bam bangin buttermilk ranch

Jacked Mac 'n Burger (Flat Iron)
burger, bacon, mac and cheese bun

Hot Pocket Burger (PYT)
deep-fried "philly cheese steak" hot pocket buns, beef patty, american cheese, truffle-drizzled wiz wit cheesesteak

What kinds of things? Lentils?

Joker S'more / Red Bull Frozen Yogurt (Happily Ever After)

Adam Riff™ Clip of the Week

43. Brooke does it for the Vine (The Amazing Race, S25E04)

Honourable Mention

Stray Observations

  • "Time for me to get out there and spread my"
    "Get out there and spread my legs?"
    "Well, either way…"
    "No. Not either way. Only wings." (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, S02E03)
  • Gina's countdown technique involves ending with the last names of famous Marks. The final challenge? "On your mark… Get Seth… Rogen!" (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, S02E03)
  • The first trough victim is Oswald Cobblepot on Gotham (The Walking Dead, S05E01)
  • "I got a beer."
    "Where in the world did you find that?"
    "In the refrigerator.
    "Huh. Must have been left by one of the Mexicans." (The Affair, S01E01)
  • Oswald Cobblepot lost the role of Todd on Breaking Bad to Jesse Plemons (Gotham, S01E04)
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees! (Gotham, S01E04)

Sal Maroni celebrates with a giant steak (Gotham, S01E04)

Josh Reddick bombs Chrisley (WWE Raw, 10-13-14)

  • "Are you just eating a bowl of jelly?" (New Girl, S04E05)
  • "Nothing sadder than a freaky Thursday." (Black-ish, S01E04)
  • "Where are you going?"
    "I don't know. Maybe St. Petersburg, where they have real caramel corn." (American Horror Story, S04E02)

(American Horror Story, S04E02)

  • "Never give power to the big man." (Peaky Blinders, S02E03)
  • "Jewish women, for you, are off the fuckin' menu." (Peaky Blinders, S02E03)
  • "The use of attractive people isn't going anywhere." (Shark Tank, S06E05)
  • John Hodgman! (The Knick, S01E10)
  • "Nothing breaks a man like a good cock punch." (The Knick, S01E10)
  • "I can read left to right, not just up and down." (The Knick, S01E10)
  • Heroin – heh (The Knick, S01E10)
  • The Knick Season Grade: B
  • "Think warm thoughts. Think of a fire."
    "Gah. I thought of a cold fire!" (Comedy Bang! Bang!, S03E11)
  • "The National gets their check." (Comedy Bang! Bang!, S03E11)
  • "Secretary of the Office: I nominate Ellie Kemper." (Comedy Bang! Bang!, S03E11)


When it comes to the suburbs, I'm the original

Steven: this pizza place in san antonio is doing these pizzas for halloween

Steven: so i bought one
Steven: and this is what i got

Jon: it looks like a deformed fetus
Steven: sigh, i know
Steven: i was too tired to be pissed

Steven: what are you gonna be for halloween?
Jon: i'm thinking about being a walrus, but i don't think anyone will get the reference

Jon: i had this idea to rent a claw crane machine, fill it with candy that the claw can't possibly hold, and place it outside my front door

We don't loot, but we get even


I know it won an Oscar for 'Best Picture,' but Gladiator seems like such a culturally impactless film for marketers to keep referencing.

"From the director of a film you haven't thought about in years."

"From the director of a film you spottily remember."

It's not like Ridley Scott is Paul Brickman. You have options, including three film classics.

Then again…

Didn't reference Gladiator, didn't perform well at the box office.

Rory: Warner Bros. makes sure to slap a "from the director of 300" on every Zack Snyder film.

Jon: Alas, we only got one "from the director of Troy" before Wolfgang Petersen disappeared.
Rory: "From the director of Platoon and Alexander."

Pints For Prostates

"3 times as many dogs have wine-related names in San Francisco."

I mean… It's like learning that many Alabamians name their dogs after siblings.

100% of the participants in this study are white people.

Heh. I know two Asian Pearls and a Mae.

Adam Riff™ Clip of the Week

41. Hatsune Miku (Late Show with David Letterman, 10-09-14)

Stray Observations

  • "I like tacos! [fart]" (Bob's Burgers, S05E01)
  • "I just want to go home and crawl into bed and have a good long dutch oven cry." (Bob's Burgers, S05E01)
  • "Also, I'm just an uncle so, no biggie." (Bob's Burgers, S05E01)
  • "You embarrassed me in front of Derek Jeter."
    "You embarrassed yourssssself in front of Derek Jeter." (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, S02E02)

Young Nucky's teeth (Boardwalk Empire, S05E05)

  • "I, for one, refuse to be ruled by fear."
    "Coming dear." (Boardwalk Empire, S05E05)
  • RT: "The Strain put a LOT of effort into disguising Massey Hall as some joint in Tribeca" (The Strain, S01E13)
  • The Strain Season Grade: C+
  • "The Balloonman gon' get ya." (Gotham, S01E03)

Meanwhile, at Wayne Manor… (Gotham, S01E03)

  • The Driver Season Grade: C-
  • "He called a scotch on the rocks a 'sco-ro.'" (New Girl, S04E04)
  • "It looks like a little tiny pigeon's egg."
    "Don't you wanna hatch the bird?" (New Girl, S04E04)
  • "I hate when Schmidt cries. He sounds like a ghost singing 'Hey Ya.'" (New Girl, S04E04)
  • Matador Season Grade: C+
  • "If laughter's the best medicine, then you're grape-flavoured Triaminic." (Modern Family, S06E03)
  • "The nod is on the same primal level as a baby waving 'hi' – as a man scrunching up his face when a woman with a big butt walks by."
    "This is basic stuff."
    "Even the butt thing?"
    "Especially the butt thing. Basic black." (Black-ish, S01E03)
  • Will continuity continue all season? (South Park, S18E03)
  • "Salami vise." (The League, S06E06)
  • "It's Lucky Strike. It's good for you." (American Horror Story, S04E01)
  • Lobster hand shocker (American Horror Story, S04E01)

Meep the Geek (American Horror Story, S04E01)

  • "I once carried out my own personal form of stigmata on an Italian. I pushed his face up against a trench, shoved a six-inch nail up his fuckin' nose, and I hammered it home with a duckboard. It was fuckin' biblical, mate." (Peaky Blinders, S02E02)
  • "I'm standing my ground!" (Black Jesus, S01E10)
  • Black Jesus Season Grade: C

(The Amazing Race, S25E03)

  • Sons of GameStop (Shark Tank, S06E04)
  • "There's the Emotionals, the Foodies, the Hasidics, and Gryffindor." (Saturday Night Live, S40E03)
  • "Dan Cortese." (Saturday Night Live, S40E03)
  • "Here's a joke: GOD." (Saturday Night Live, S40E03)


Fire Walk With Me

Previously on Adam Riff™ (2005):

My mother asked a professional fortune teller to assess my future.

You're best-suited to live in the northwest. Seattle, Oregon, Vancouver. A move to Seattle or anywhere in the northwest would be most beneficial to your future.


I know fortune telling is bullshit, but…

[off the 'riffstagram]

Portland has more 24-hour Subway restaurants than any other city I have visited.

I trekked out to a bakery in northeast Portland, and it had closed early so that the staff could go apple picking, because of course.

Ryan: hey, does your hotel have a business center with a printer?
Jon: uhhh
Jon: no
Jon: but it does have complimentary bicycles

If only a Valencia Street ran through Brooklyn in Portland.